Self-Advocacy

In collaboration with Iowa’s Developmental Disabilities Network and community stakeholders, CDD provides assistance to increase the number of Iowans with disabilities, family members and advocates who have the confidence to advocate for themselves and others. Our consumer-responsive approach offers multiple opportunities to learn or apply advocacy skills. Outcomes resulting from these activities include the strengthening of self-advocacy organizations, the empowerment of persons with disabilities to participate in development and evaluation of policies and programs affecting their lives, and an increase in the number of persons with disabilities who advocate effectively for policies, services and supports that promote their independence and recognize their unique gifts, preferences and needs in their journey towards full community inclusion.

Iowa Initiatives Assisted by CDD

  • Family to Family Iowa – Many individuals begin to learn self-advocacy skills while they are children watching a parent advocate for them. Parents with strong advocacy skills are prepared to encourage and support their children through the decision making process and provide them with opportunities to advocate for themselves.
  • Money Follows the Person – Self-advocates choose where they want to live as well as the services and supports they desire. This initiative provides opportunity for individuals with intellectual disabilities to move from facility based settings into community based settings with the supports and services they need.
  • Olmstead Consumer Taskforce – Self-advocates can participate in statewide advocacy initiatives focused on improving policies, services and supports needed to live in communities of their choice.
  • Peer Action Disability Support (P.A.D.S.) – Self-advocates can join or help develop grassroots self-advocacy organizations run by people with disabilities. PADS mission is to improving people’s lives through peer support and community advocacy.

Programs Run by CDD with Funding from State or Federal Partners

  • Assistive Technology Legal Project – Provides legal guidance for individuals having difficulty finding funding sources for assistive technology or experiencing problems repairing/replacing an existing device.
  • Creating Accessible Homes and Workplaces through Universal Design – Self-advocates can access information on how to build accessible homes and workplaces.
  • Disability Resource Library (DRL) – Self-advocates gain knowledge about disabilities through collections focused on information for, by, and about people with disabilities. Resources come in a variety of formats - books, DVDs, training curricula, software, and assistive technology. About 60 percent of the materials in the DRL are not found in any other State of Iowa Library Organization library. Self-advocates can borrow materials in person or by mail.
  • Iowa COMPASS – Self-advocates can use this resource to locate disability services, supports, assisted technology devices, and used equipment needed to be independent and active in their community.
  • Living Well Iowa - Emergency Preparedness – Self-advocates learn how to develop their own emergency preparedness plan and how to join a community emergency response team to help them develop community emergency plans that are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Other State and National Resources

  • ID Action – Join the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council’s initiative to track legislative bills and advocate for changes in state disability policies.
  • Mental Health and Disability Services Redesign – Input from disability advocates is needed as Iowa’s system transforms from a county based to regional system. Follow the redesign process and learn about opportunities to provide your input.
  • National Gateway to Self-Determination – Provides examples of ways to learn and practice self- advocacy skills.